The White Princess Review
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Fans of historical fiction should rejoice that Philippa Gregory never fails to satisfy our hunger for stories about the Tudors and their ancestors. The White Princess, Gregoryís story of Elizabeth of York (daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV), is every bit as captivating as her other tales, including The White Queen, The Red Queen, and The Kingmakerís Daughter.

It takes a masterful storyteller to make readers wonder what will happen when history has already provided us with the facts. Even still, readers will get caught up in the tragic circumstances surrounding the medieval monarchs and their unrelenting compulsion to grasp the throne. After all, the problem is that once you have the crown, you have to constantly watch your back; someone else is always ready to steal it from your head (as Henry Tudor literally did when he fought Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth).

  
 
Those who have followed Gregoryís account of the Cousinsí War already know about the warring houses of Lancaster and York. No sooner did one claimant take the throne, then the rival family would muster up an army and take it back. No one was safe from court intrigue. Women were used as pawns, to be married off to ensure that their family rose to power. The recurring theme in history, and retold in Gregoryís books, is that the more glorious the ascension to the throne, the harder the fall.

For those who havenít followed Gregoryís histories, itís still a fascinating read, expressing the hopes of a young York princess who, by marrying Henry Tudor (of the Lancaster line), shouldíve lived happily ever after. Their marriage and offspring ended the War of the Roses (or Cousinsí War) and produced their son, Henry, who would become Henry VIII. But Henry Tudor, Elizabethís husband, struggled to shake off the legacy of exile, bloody fighting, and constant betrayal that he had to endure in order to become King of England in the first place.

In telling the story, Gregory cleverly combines just the right amount of fact and fiction. The dates and battles and historical events are authentic, while the fictional portions are perfectly blended as Gregory speculates on what the characters said and thought. Itís the emotions and the drama that people like me love to speculate about. Did Princess Elizabeth truly mourn for the death of Richard III (historians speculate that she was in love with him, her own uncle). Did she hate Henry, even though she had to marry him to regain her familyís status? Did she grow to love him? Did he love her?

If you like historical fiction, you will love The White Princess. And, if you havenít already done so, itís sure to make you want to read the rest of Gregoryís novels.

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